ATP Picks: Houston and Casablanca

US Men's Clay Court Tournament

US Men's Clay Court Tournament

Houston

A strong field for the only US clay court tournament in the calendar. The US men are well represented by in-form Isner, Fish and the Ryan(s) Harrison and Sweeting. James ‘Breaking Back’ Blake gets entry with Sam Querry and Alex ‘Back in the USSR’ Bogomolov.

Spain are the other force of course with F-Lo and Marcel Granollers spearheading their efforts, but the spoiler could be Juan ‘Pico’ Monaco, who reached the semi finals in Miami. He was rested in Davis Cup, so he might challenge well.

John Isner was immense in Davis Cup play at the weekend against France and if he has some gas in the tank, he looks good to take the trophy home. The other US Davis Cup singles player, Harrison, suffered two losses on the clay but got the practice nonetheless.

Let’s break it down:

ATP Level: 250
Surface: Outdoor Clay
Unseeded Dangermen:
Sam Querry, Ryan Harrison
Defending Champion:
Ryan Sweeting
My pick: 
John Isner

Did You Know? American winners have been Ryan Sweeting, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Jared Palmer and Richey Reneberg

Watch: Houston Uncovered

Grand Prix Hassan II

Casablanca

I picked Pablo Andujar last year to win (I thank you) and he’s back to defend. He gets a nice draw this year to help with a possible semi-final match against the unpredictable Alex ‘The Dog’ Dolgopolov.

The top half is more interesting with G-Lopez, Andreev, Istomin and Mathieu forming a tough section. Florian Mayer sits fairly pretty at the top with a straightforward passage through the draw.

A good week to pick up a title for the lesser ranked players while the big dogs take a rest.

ATP Level: 250
Surface: 
Outdoor Clay
Defending Champion: Pablo Andujar
My pick: Florian Mayer

Did You Know? The only Moroccan winners have been Hicham Arazi in 1997 and Younes El Aynaoui in 2002

Thanks for reading and check back next week for more tips, news and musings!

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